I can’t say I make a lattice tart very often, but I did go out of my way in having a bash at this rather divine ricotta and chocolate one that Giulia made for breakfast when we stayed with her at Casale Centurione Country House. It’s one of those cake-like pastries that is good all-the-year-round; Giulia kindly packed some up for us to take down to Abruzzo’s ski-capital Roccaraso where for a double chocolate indulgence we ate it paired with thick and gloopy Hot Chocolate.
Ricotta has been a bit of an obsession since I first studied in Italy 30 years ago. Alongside bowls of minestrone, it became one of my favourite student foods. I am sure my admiration aged 18 was more to do with its low-fat properties and the easy recipes it provided me with when there were more exciting things to be doing than cooking. Now, I revel in its taste and texture, always wishing that there were more bi-products out there like it. I try and shun those little pots of ricotta mush from the supermarket and instead when not in Abruzzo, stalk out those who make the real stuff, you can use cow’s milk ricotta for this dish but my personal preference is using sheep’s milk ricotta.
Giulia’s farmstay B&B and restaurant is in Manoppello (Pescara), the local church of which is famous for hosting Veronica’s veil. Try one of her fantastic pasta lessons and learn not just how to make conventional pasta, but how to handle the lower-gluten ancient flours of the region that have so come back into vogue.
Giulia's Ricotta & Chocolate Tart
- For the Pastry
- 350 g Plain Flour
- 150 g Unsalted Butter room temperature
- 2 Eggs beaten
- 150 g Caster Sugar
- 3 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 Vanilla Pod
- For the Filling
- 500 g Ricotta
- 2 tbsp Caster Sugar
- 150 g Dark Chocolate roughly cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together, cube the butter and rub into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Mix in the sugar.
- Beat the 2 eggs together with half a vanilla pod and slowly mix into the dough.
- Bring the breadcrumbs lightly together to make a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 mins.
- Mix the filling ingredients together, ricotta, sugar and chocolate chips and spoon ino the tart.
- Roll out the 7/8 of the pastry to form a thin pie crust, it is quite soft dough so expect to mould it with your fingers into your pie dish. Add your filling and then roll out the remainder of your dough and cut into strips to make your lattice top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown